Dear Baltimore Orioles,
I know you currently have a three-game lead in the very tough American League East and are looking for ways to make improvements on your roster.
I know starting pitching is one area that can use a little boost, but whatever you do, please, PLEASE do NOT trade for A.J. Burnett.
Trading for Burnett is like that one night you were out late at a bar and had a few too many adult beverages leading to beer goggles, and then we all know what happens next: bad decisions. I would take Erik Bedard before I take Burnett. Okay, maybe I’m getting a little crazy there, but the point is this: Do NOT trade for Burnett.
I know he was on your radar this off-season, but somehow he lucked out and signed a two-year deal worth $30 million (good thinking Ruben Amaro), which is more than any rational team would pay for his “services.”
There are other pitchers out there. Some come with hefty price tags (Cliff Lee and David Price to name a few) while others might not be so costly (John Danks for example).
There are plenty of options out there besides Burnett.
This year Burnett is 6-9 with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.361 WHIP. Not that good. In his 136 2/3 innings pitched, he has walked 58 batters, most in the National League (second in all of baseball to none other than our very own Ubaldo Jimenez).
If you feel the need to cite his success with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2012 to 2013, sure, go ahead. Bring up his 26-21 record and 3.41 ERA over 61 starts. Those numbers sure do look good, but then again, when you’re facing the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros for 11 of those starts, your numbers had better look good.
If you want to bring up his success in Pittsburgh, make sure you bring up his horrible failures in New York with the Yankees. In three seasons in the AL East, Burnett went 34-35 with a 4.79 ERA. If you take out his first season in New York when he went 13-9 with a 4.04 ERA and only look at his last two seasons there, he went a combined 21-26 with a 5.20 ERA.
If you’re wondering, “Hey, didn’t he sign a five-year, $82.5-million deal with the Yankees before the 2009 season?”, the answer is yes, he did. The Yankees could not wait to get rid of him, so they sent him packing to Pittsburgh and paid $20 million of his remaining $33 million. The Yankees essentially paid him to play somewhere else. Anywhere else.
I’m sure they would have loved to keep him in the AL East so they would eventually get to face off against him, but no AL East team was stupid enough to take him.
by Andy Mindzak